The Great Resignation: Is Life Finally More Important Than Work?
The pandemic taught us all so much about ourselves. The extended isolation from friends, family and colleagues made us get up close and personal with our brains. Working from home changed the way we worked and continues to be the hangover that has lasted 2 years.
In 2021, we started to hear grumblings. At first, it was called “The Great Reset”.
The pandemic gave us a once in a lifetime opportunity to start anew. The term is used “for climactic events that resolve our global debt overload while at the same time dealing with slow economic growth, high unemployment and social unrest.”
Systems that failed us could be rebuilt, we could dedicate time and resources to global issues and combat new challenges with a post-covid passion. A new dawn was rising in the post-pandemic world filled with opportunities for change and growth.
NORMAL SERVICE WILL BE RESUMED SHORTLY.
As we moved further away from looming lockdowns and suffocating covid restrictions, many just wanted life to go back to ‘normal’. The first step? Let's all return to the office and go back to the restrictive life of a 9-5.
We lost sight of the reset button and went right back to autopilot.
This brought about a wave of discomfort and unrest amongst the corporate workforce, and pushed us into …
THE GREAT RESIGNATION
As people were being reintroduced to the office and back into corporate life, they were more eager to leave their jobs. We were ripped from the comfortable lounge-womb we’d been curled up in for 18months, and most people weren’t happy with that.
With the threat of the WFH gestation period ending and the old-age standard of productivity looming its ugly head once again. By 20211 in 4 people in the UK were ready to jack in their office jobs.
The great resignation hit its peak in September of 2021, with 4.4million people leaving their jobs in one month. People were quitting their jobs at historic rates, the likes of which we had never seen before.
A study conducted in 2021 found that of the 6,000 workers surveyed 69% of them were feeling confident about moving to a new role in the next few months, with 24% planning a change within three to six months.
The study conducted by the recruitment firm Randstad UK said it would normally expect up to 11% of workers to move jobs every year. These suitably bleak statistics make it difficult to be hopeful for our lives in the post-covid wasteland.
A HUGE FACTOR IN THIS SHIFT IS BURNOUT.
Burnout refers to the state of complete emotional and physical exhaustion caused by long term stress from your job. People suffering from burnout can feel extremely unmotivated, helpless and generally overwhelmed by their life constantly. Despite the prevalence of burnout it is often misunderstood, stigmatised, and costly both to employees’ health and wellbeing, and employers’ productivity.
In March 2021, YouGov found that 46% of UK workers feel ‘more prone to extreme levels of stress compared with the previous year.
Decreased productivity is one of the three primary signs of burnout according to Amelia Nagoski, co-author of Burnout: Solve Your Stress Cycle. She explains that "it happens because our bodies are stuck in the stress response. If your stressor is chronic and ongoing, that kind of tunnel vision means that you lose your sense of the big picture.”
Victoria Short, CEO of Randstad UK said that “some teams have been running too hot for too long. The pandemic has changed how some people think about life, work, and what they want out of both. It’s made people step back and rethink their lives. Covid has reminded them that life is too short.”
And there it is - a silver lining to the clouds of doom and gloom.
WE NEED BALANCE
The concept of a good work/life has eluded many of us for years and is entirely subjective. It's about prioritising your needs outside of your work responsibilities to facilitate living a fulfilling life.
The term ‘work/life balance' is something that gets thrown around now more than ever. People are more aware of how bleak life is when you are no longer able to do any of your favourite things - no hobbies, no pubs, no dinners out, no socialising. Now we know what life is like with an inability to have a real-life, and we won’t go back to compromising on the important stuff.
"The pandemic has allowed us to shift the conversation around flexible working to a point that would otherwise have taken at least 10 years,” says organisational psychologist Dr Deirdre Anderson, a work-life balance expert at Cranfield School of Management.
“The boundaries of nine to five are long, long gone,” says Cecile Alper-Leroux, vice-president of human capital management (HCM) innovation at UKG, a leading global provider of HCM, payroll, HR service delivery, and workforce management.
“Employers must help staff put life before work, or this level of burnout will continue,” says Alper-Leroux. “That’s why we need a shift to what we call life-work technology, which allows awareness of people’s lives. People need to feel valued – and managers need to create a culture of belonging.
PEAK YOUR PRODUCTIVITY
Avoiding burnout and establishing a good work/life balance is no easy feat, yet we can move towards a more sustainable way of working by making our priorities clear to ourselves and our employers.
Look after your brain better with wellness apps such as Calm and Headspace. These apps will actively encourage you to take time to inwardly reflect, be that through mediation or just taking a couple of minutes for yourself out of your busy day.
Balance your brain by supplementing your diet with productivity-boosting ingredients. Things like green tea, eggs and bananas are great for boosting your productivity and help keep you focused for longer.
Packing in nootropics can help keep you stay the most creative and productive version of yourself. Ingredients such as Turmeric, Ashwagandha and Niacin are scientifically proven to bump up your brainpower and avoid burning yourself out.